Thursday, June 27, 2013

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #7

It's fitting that I put my brain and liver through hell at times when I'm reading a comic about the X-men going through a place that is akin to hell. Cyclops's revolutionary team is going through some hellish trial-by-fire in the pages of Uncanny X-men. Their new recruits were total pussies at first. Now they've got no choice but to be awesome. And these are my thoughts on such methods as I embrace the hellish undertones of this series.

Unfortunately, this hell of an issue begins by flat out giving away the ending. We see Magik sitting before Dr. Strange, who has ties to the same Avengers that want to put Cyclops on trial for murder, like a middle school girl who was sent to the school counselor for flashing her tits in gym class. She sounds completely unlike the sinister, demonic, yet lovable teenager that she had been since this series began and more like a freshly neutered puppy. It essentially implies that shit didn’t work out that well in this issue.

Flashback to the battle in Limbo. Cyclops and a team of new, inexperienced mutants are left to take on Dormammu’s armies. It took a little psychic trick from the Cuckoos to get them to stop pissing themselves and actually fight, but it’s not exactly a very fair fight. That doesn’t prevent the team from holding their own. They actually seem to do more than just provide a minor inconvenience to Mephisto’s forces. It also nicely demonstrates that many of these new X-men are still new to their powers. Watching them try to fight with them is like watching Ms. Utah try to give an economics lecture, but much more entertaining.

This entertainment, however, doesn’t hide the fact that their powers are still broken. Through much of the battle, Magik continues to narrate during her spoilerific therapy session with Dr. Strange. In this narration she reminds the reader that Cyclops, Emma, and Magneto are still dealing with broken powers thanks to the Phoenix Force. Her powers are broken too, which was what landed them in this real, actual hell in the first place. They’ve been trying to hide that shit the best they can since this series began. But in the same way pretending to be a modeling agent at a bar eventually catches up to you, it’s only a matter of time before this shit comes back to bite them.

While the rest of the X-men are taking on Dormammu’s minions, Magik takes on Dormammu himself. She is now wielding a fiery, demonic aura of superpowered teenage girl on her period. This makes for a much more even battle against someone who is essentially a fucking god in his own domain. Along the way, Magik surmises that she ended up pissing off Dormammu because her powers were harming Limbo. Then using the kind of reasoning skills not associated with teenagers, she figures that since Dormammu draws so much of his power from Limbo, she might as well harm it even more to harm him in return. I’m not going to point out how awesome it is that a cute Russian teenage blond girl figured that out. I’ll only refer pissed of feminists that constantly bitch about female characters in comics to this issue to show that even the type of girls associated with Russian brides can kick ass.

The problem with Magik’s perfectly logical tactics against Dormammu is it’s too damn slow. Those glitchy powers I mentioned earlier finally start to catch up to the team. So does the whole removing the fear from the newbies tactic. Some get hurt while Cyclops and Magneto’s fucked up powers start fucking them over. This adds some urgency to Magik’s methods. It also shows nicely that this team is still pretty raw. They’re like an expansion team in football trying to play a team comprised completely of pro-bowlers (or the San Francisco 49ers). It’s not exactly comical. It’s downright tragic and leaves me wondering just how fucked Cyclops’s revolution is.

And Magik seems to know just how fucked it is because she sees how badly her teammates are fucking up. Despite showing some grit early on, they eventually fall like the fat kids in dodge ball. So she has to go to more extremes and for a teenager, that’s almost always dangerous. Rather than continue fighting the entire Limbo dimension, Magik beats Dormammu by actually absorbing it into herself. There’s something oddly sexual and misogynistic about this, taking all this evil into your body and containing it. Or maybe it’s just a big fart joke. Either way, that’s how she ends the battle.

And it’s a very unglamorous way to do so. Magik absorbing an entire dimension is not quite as bad as Superboy’s continuity punch, but it’s in the same ball park. If she can absorb an entire fucking dimension, what’s going to happen the next time she takes a shit? Moreover, how is containing a dimension that has Dormammu as it’s good in the body of a teenage girl going to function as a long-term solution? It doesn’t even come off as one of those “it seemed like a good idea at the time” moments that happens every time one too many bottles of tequila are involved in a vacation. For a book about a mutant revolution, all this demonic shit just seems really out of place.

While Illyana disappears with an entire demonic dimension in her insides, the rest of the team are roughly dropped back at their base. Both their pride and their spirits are wounded, but some are more wounded than others. Benjamin, the male Mystique in training, was seriously hurt during the battle. Seeing as how his power to this point is taking on the look of girls he’s trying to bone, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. It also further reinforces the notion that these X-men are horribly under-equipped to deal with the rigors that comes with being a mutant. But they’re not completely without redemption.

One mutant who actually does have some degree of mastery over his powers is Christopher. His powers involve healing and while he claims he has only mended cuts and bruises to this point, he makes an effort at healing Benjamin. He needs some guidance from Emma Frost and the Cuckoos and since he flirted with the Cuckoos in the previous issue, he has a lot of incentive to succeed. He knows that if he lets a teammate die, he can assume he’ll die a virgin and the Cuckoos will keep their panties under lock and key.

There may be hope for Christopher’s penis though because he does succeed. He essentially brings Benjamin back from the dead, which is a power that should comes in handy when comics resort to killing characters every couple of months. It’s also a nice scene that shows that not all these young mutants are completely inept. They are capable of doing some shit right. It just might be a bit early for them to start fighting demons in Limbo. Maybe they can save that for their junior year or something.

But not everyone wants to stick around for that junior year. In fact, most teenagers only wish they could skip or ditch high school by that point. And Goldballer, or Fabio as he’s called when someone isn’t making fun of his mutation, reverts back to the whiney little pussy he was a few issues ago. He says he wants no part of the X-men. Being able to shoot out gold balls and training in the Danger Room is one thing. Fighting demons in Limbo is just too much. And I can’t blame him, but for a scene that should be full of teen angst it’s very underwhelming. The whole resolution to this issue is underwhelming. Maybe it’s because it was already spoiled in the beginning, but there is way too much room for improvement here.

In addition to being underwhelming, the ending is also light on details. It ends exactly where it began, with Magik bitching and moaning to Dr. Strange about having a dark dimension inside her. Now to be fair, that’s one of the few things that’s actually worth bitching and moaning about. If you complain that nobody loves you and you have no friends outside of Facebook, you’re a pussy. But if you complain that you now have to contain a dark dimension in your soul every hour of every day, you’ve got problems and you do need a doctor and probably some very potent medications. That’s how this issue ends. It’s akin to Magik visiting a therapist. It’s as exciting as it sounds.

This is by far the weakest issue of Uncanny X-men to date. For a series that has been so damn awesome since it began, it’s quite a downgrade. At the very least this issue ends the whole Limbo story quickly and can just set it aside. Now the next story can get back to more important matters like why Magneto shaved his head, how O5 Angel is going to fit in with the new team, and when Cyclops is going to bone Dazzler. These are my thoughts on Uncanny X-men #7 and no, I don’t give a shit about how fucked up they are. Nuff said!

1 comment:

  1. hey you were right about the art. i do like it because it's pretty, bu the flat background really doesn't portray the grittiness of limbo.